The Leonid Yacobson Company won the prestigious European dance award in the Best Production nomination and received the trophy from the ballet critic and jury member Nataliya Zozulina, during an official ceremony, which was held at the legendary rotunda in Mayakovsky street.
On November 4, as members of the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company gathered together to rehearse Romeo and Juliet, they received the Taglioni Award Trophy, shaped like the ballet slippers that belonged to Maria Taglioni, one of the most famous dancers of the Romantic period, and the first performer to play the main part in La Sylphide. Taglioni was also the very first dancer to wear pointe shoes, immortalizing the 19th century ballet.
The exquisite trophy is made out of the so-called bisque porcelain — opaque white porcelain that has been fired twice but has not been glazed. This priceless collectible is now the pride and joy of the theatre's museum, as is the accompanying honorary diploma in French.
The Taglioni Award was established in January 2014 by the Malakhov Foundation — which, in turn, is the initiative of Vladimir Malakhov, the world-famous dancer and choreographer. The award honours the creative accomplishments of dancers, choreographers, ballet companies, conductors, and set designers over the past season.
During the first year of the award's history, an independent panel of professional ballet experts and critics from seven countries reviewed the most outstanding achievements in ballet from 2012 and 2014, and gave special praise to Leonid Yacobson's Classical Miniatures, a performance by the Leonid Yacobson Theatre that had been renewed in 2012.
The Miniatures were selected among the three finalists in the Best Production nomination. The other nominees were Juliet & Romeo (by Mats Ek, Royal Swedish Ballet) and Raven Girl (by Wayne McGregor, The Royal Ballet, Great Britain).
The winners were announced during a gala ceremony in Berlin on September 27. In all, there were thirteen nominations celebrating the best of the best in European ballet art.
The trophy was passed on to the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Company by Nataliya Nikolaevna Zozulina, ballet critic, author of several works on ballet history, professor, and teacher at the Vaganova Russian Ballet Academy. She pointed out that this was the 'unquestionable victory of Leonid Yacobson, a remarkable 20th-century choreographer, and well-deserved recognition of his great, unmatched choreography that still remains fresh and relevant despite the passing of time'.
'Yacobson's miniatures Pas de Trois, Pas de pas de Quatre, Vestris, and Sextet, which I presented to the Taglioni Award's expert judging panel, have been singled out as the best production — unanimously and without any string-pulling. And we must bear in mind that before that, Yacobson's work had only been familiar to one of the jury members, a music expert from Germany, who had seen Yacobson's productions at the Mariinsky theatre back in the day,' Ms. Zozulina explained. 'I am more than certain that Yacobson deserves to be a household name in ballet circles, as much as the names of George Balanchine, Maurice Béjart, Yury Grigorovich, Roland Petit, and John Neumeier'.
She also pointed out that the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre is a unique company that has an entire 'treasure trove' of unimaginable choreographic gems, and passes on ballet mastery and exquisite choreography from generation to generation, from person to person, from heart to heart.